|Horrible scratches on my XC bike incurred in shipping|
So what can be done to prevent the usual scuffs, scratches, dings, and dents from covering our favorite machines? I think the best solution, is honestly to ride less. Heck, don’t even ride at all. Having your bike turn into a garage queen is the only way that you can completely ensure that your bike stays unscathed.
|My favorite bottle of $1 "touch-up paint"|
One of my personal favorite solutions, is one that will have your toolboxes losing a bit of machismo if you decide to go through with it. For scratches of various sizes on fairly simple, solid color frames, I’ve found that nail polish works exceptionally well at covering up scratches. It’s touch-up paint that’s super affordable, comes in a million different colors that are easy to match to almost any frame, and the glossy properties of nail polish often seem to match that of a frame’s stock powdercoat without being too blatant.
Additionally, if you’re looking to spot touch-up paint your bike, your local bike shop will often carry touch-up paint that is from the bike brands that they carry. For instance, a shop I used to work at in town carried multiple colors that were issued to them from Specialized, though they’re pretty hard to order individually. Specialized, as stated on their website, has noted that they’re pretty much done with selling touch-up paint, and even recommend my aforementioned solution. If you’re dead-set on getting proprietary touch-up paint, definitely check your LBS first. Automotive touch-up paint is also a possible option, but it’d going to be several times more expensive than a bottle of nail polish.
|"Jamaica" bike I helped my friend spraypaint|
If you are interested in getting your bike completely re-painted, you are going to first have to do two things; completely strip EVERYTHING off of the frame, down to the headset and bottom bracket cups, and you are going to have to find a way to strip the paint off. If you’ve got no experience with either of the two, you can easily bring your bike into your LBS which should be more than happy to dis-assemble and re-assemble your bike for around $150 or less, and almost any place that you can bring your bike to have painted will be capable of removing its stock paint.
Once you’ve got a bare frame, you’ve got a few options. Firstly, you can try your hand at rattle-can spray painting, which will likely be the least expensive, but I highly recommend against it. Rattle-can jobs almost never end up turning out great, and their durability doesn’t quite stand up to other methods of painting, even when clear-coated properly.
|Zebra freeride bike my airbrush artist painted (frame/ fork)|
Lastly, the most common method of bike painting that I’ve seen, is powder coating. Once again, if you live in any kind of urban area, you’ll likely have some kind of power coating business in town that will be happy to paint your frame in a variety of colors that they’ve got in stock, or can order. Powder coating is done at a very high temperature, however, so if you’ve got a carbon fiber frame, this is unfortunately not an option for you.
|Girlfriend's '85 Trek 500 I had powdercoated|
Just remember; even the worst aesthetic damage to your bike can always be fixed, and your bike's paint can always be changed. Hope this gives y’all some insight, and I wish I’d known all of this ages ago!